Firefighter's family lives in firehouse after blaze consumes home

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Firefighter lives at firehouse following fire: Christie Ileto reports on Action News at 11 p.m., January 8, 2018 (WPVI)

Last week, a South Jersey firefighter arrived at a fire call to find his very own house consumed by flames.

Five days later, he and his family are trying to pick up the pieces, and fortunately, they are getting some much-needed help.

The donations have been pouring in so quickly that Stephanie Penwell doesn't even know where to start.

The Penwell's lost everything when their Southampton home went up in flames last Wednesday.

"It's been amazing," said Stephanie. "We have clothes for pretty much all of our members of our family."

The Tabernacle Fire Department is where her husband, Volunteer Firefighter Jason Penwell, works. It is also where the family is currently staying.

Active duty Air Force, Jason responded to last week's call not knowing it was hit own home engulfed in flames.

He said the school bus had just dropped off his oldest son Trevor, who went into the burning home four times to rescue four of the family's five pets.

"By the time I got the fourth dog out, I forgot about him," said Trevor. "But at that point, the garage was already on fire."
Jason said he was mad that Trevor went inside the burning home, as he did not have any gear on.

"It was tough, but I thank God nothing happened to him," said Jason.

Declared unsafe to inhabit, the home was leveled that night.

"I brought them back here before the fire was even over," said Chief Dave Smith. "Just to get his kids and him out of there. They didn't need to watch anymore."

For now, Fire Co. No. 1 is more than just Penwell's Job, but also a temporary home for his family.

"In the big scheme of things, it's a house, a place where we sleep," said Jason. "But my kids are OK, my wife is OK."

Along with trying to maintain a sense of normalcy for the kids, the Penwells said their next goal is to find a home for their family of 6 and four dogs.

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